Some people think the key challenge for the next Pope will be ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy; others think it will be responding to the sex-abuse scandal; still others, gaining control of the Roman Curia. I think these are all aspects of the same fundamental question: Should Church leaders be held accountable?
For 35 years we’ve had Pontiffs who’ve been extraordinary teachers, fleshing out the vision of Vatican II on the doctrinal/pastoral level. Now maybe it’s time to turn attention to Church administration and governance, to ensure that the vision is applied as practical action.
Today I’ve posted a piece on the Catholic Culture site explaining my thought in a bit more detail. I hope you’ll find it interesting.
I can’t help feeling in my bones that this hope is going to be disappointed because I think what is not being taken into account here is the vision of the papacy laid out in Ut Unum Sint. The age of the heavy-handed monarchical papacy is past. The consistent behavior of both JPII and Benedict was that where bishops have actly badly or stupidly in their capacity as governors, they have been left to face the consequences of their actions. It is only if they have themselves committed grave sins of sexual abuse that they have been swiftly removed. I think that pattern will continue. I wish that were not so, but I believe in my bones it will be. Until we really grok the remarkable move east that JPII took the papacy on, many Catholics will continue hoping for Innocent III and getting let down.